Spring is Muckier Than You Think—6 Ways Ayurveda Can Help
The transition into spring can feel fresh, new, and alive with possibility.
But Ayurvedic wisdom reminds us there are also damp, mucky, heavy, and solid qualities moving through.
Picture mud puddles and dark rainy days.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, like increases like, so if we eat heavy foods, sleep a lot, and lie in savasana for an entire morning, we will feel more lethargic and less vibrant.
Ayurveda teaches us that bringing spicy elements into your day can help alleviate the cool, damp, heaviness that early spring brings. We often associate spice literally, with spices in cooking, but we can infuse spiciness into our beings in so many other ways.
1. Take your yoga practice up a notch. If you typically love rolling around on your mat in the morning, see how it feels to start your practice from standing. Play with asanas like powerful warrior sequences and strong goddesses to get the large muscles in your legs working for you. When these muscle groups get grooving it brings up your body temperature quickly, and energy starts to flow. Keep moving through your morning practice and resist the urge to lie down. This will start your spring days with more energy, and bust out the cobwebs in your brain. It will also help release the mucous that can accumulate in the chest area when the seasons are transitioning.
2. Bring spices into your bathing ritual—so fun! Using a body scrub to exfoliate and invigorate is a wonderful way to pay attention to your largest organ of detoxification (your skin), and start your day with a zing. You can find many scrubs on the market, or make your own using organic cane sugar, coconut oil, ground coffee, ginger essential oil and/or fresh ginger, plus a nice dose of cinnamon. Let those warming spices sink into your skin and infuse you with glowing energy.
3. Add some spiced-up aromatherapy into your routine. This will keep the warmth in your bones and bust the damp coolness of spring weather. You can use some black pepper and cinnamon in your diffuser, or add some warming oils to your body lotion or to the bottoms of your feet in the morning. Essential oils lift our spirits and bring vitality to our movement throughout the day.
4. Add pungent, warming, spices to your foods and beverages. This is one of the simplest ways to bring more heat to your day. I always start my morning with warm lemon water and this time of year I add a hunk of fresh ginger. Experiment with adding ginger to your fresh juices, and choose herbal teas like chai with an extra kick of cinnamon and orange. Taking your favourite recipes and tossing in some crushed chillies and black pepper will instantly get your digestive fires going and bring a flush to your face.
5. Try “Vishnu’s Tonic.” One of my favourite Ayurvedic practices, called Vishnu’s tonic, is a wonderful way to boost your immune system and up your daily spice intake. In a small stainless steel, porcelain, or glass container, take a small amount of organic honey (about a teaspoon), and add 7 crushed peppercorns. Ayurvedic wisdom advises using your index finger to blend the concoction together, in a clockwise motion, while repeating the mantra “Vishnu” 108 times. If your mornings are anything like mine, this feels like a long process to fit into all my morning non-negotiables. You can simply blend it with your finger, place a bit on your tongue, and let it melt into your mouth and down your throat. If the pepper is too much for your palette, experiment with 2 or 3 peppercorns. This is a powerful congestion buster and immune booster—yum!
6. Give your spice rack a little extra love. We tend to take our spice jars for granted, but the history of spices is fascinating. Spices were once used in commerce for trade, and nutmeg was actually worth more than gold. Peppercorns were demanded as ransom, and in 16th century London, dockworkers received their bonuses in cloves. These hot commodities (pun intended) have been revered for centuries, and they grace us with their magical powers, right in our own kitchens. Spices are ancient wisdom in a jar.
The simple practice of adding a little extra spice to your routine can light a spark of vitality.
You can take charge of your energy this spring and clear the fog and heaviness.
Now it’s your turn, my friends. If you were a spice girl (or spice boy), what spice would you be? Let me know, in the comments below. My name would be Nutmeg Spice!
Bija Repta is the Director of DevaTree’s 100-hr advanced training, Down Dogs & Doshas: An Ayurvedic Approach to Yoga.